Clean wildlife equipment ready for a busy winter to keep birds and other creatures happy and healthy during their most challenging time of year.
Putting out food and providing safe hibernating spots in the garden provides a lifeline for creatures like hedgehogs, ground beetles and frogs – they’ll reward your efforts by providing a built-in pest control service next year, as they eat vast numbers of slug and snail eggs plus aphids and other nasties.
You’ll find a great range of wildlife equipment in our garden centre here in Ripley including a wide selection of bird baths and feeders, hedgehog hideaways and bee hotels to install in your garden ready for winter. Back them up with wildlife-friendly plants: good choices to plant now include berrying shrubs such as cotoneaster or holly, and dense evergreens which provide plenty of shelter such as ivy and viburnum.
Feeders and hotels need regular care to make sure they are free of diseases and parasites. Clean bird tables and feeders with a weak disinfectant and rinse them thoroughly. It can help to move feeders around the garden from time to time so that droppings don’t build up. Empty bird baths and water containers and refill with fresh water, too, as these can also be a source of disease.
Remove old nests from bird boxes once the breeding season is over, from this month onwards, but avoid disturbing boxes that are in use – wrens, for example, can use bird boxes as communal roosts through winter. Then clean the boxes with boiling water and allow them to dry.
Empty out any old nest material from hedgehog homes and then clean with boiling water. Insect hotels, though, can be in use all year, so don’t try to clean these out: the solitary bees which make them home will do the job for you.